A Formal Framework for Strategic Representations and Conceptual Reorganization
In this paper, we introduce a formal language for modeling the structure of strategic representations and operations that conceptualize change on basis of them. Strategic representations are lower dimensional representations of the world, that underlie the understanding of what business environments are, how they may change, and attempts to shape them. We start from discussing known strategic representations like Porter's five forces model or the strategy canvas. We elicit the conceptual structure underlying these representations by capturing them in our formal language. We demonstrate that our formal language can express operations of conceptual change of strategies such as stretching (the extension of value ranges), lifting (deleting dimensions), extending (adding dimensions), amalgamation (enabling new combinations of features by amalgamating different domains), and transferring structure (exploring analogies). These operations can be the basis for strategizing: for seeing possible reorganizations of strategies and even to become aware of new opportunities. We apply these operations to explain classical business cases, including a detailed study of the conceptual structure underling Steve Jobs' digital hub concept. Our formal language is, to our knowledge, the first attempt to capture the variety of conceptual operations underlying strategic change using one comprehensive model.